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Tonya Harding looks unrecognisable during a rare Australian TV interview 


‘My life ended up a different way’: Notorious figure skater Tonya Harding breaks down in tears as she watches her historic 1991 triple axel jump – three years before a botched assault plot on her rival ended her career

Retired professional figure skater Tonya Harding became emotional as she spoke about her career on Channel Seven’s The Morning Show on Friday.

Looking almost unrecognisable compared to her sporting heyday, 50-year-old broke down in tears while discussing the moment she made history as the first American woman to land a triple axel jump in competition.

The mother of one described the moment, which took place 30 years ago at the 1991 U.S. Figure Skating Championships, to hosts Matt Shirvington and Kylie Gillies. 

Touchy subject: Retired professional figure skater Tonya Harding became emotional during a rare TV appearance on Channel Seven’s The Morning Show on Friday

‘I was like, “God, please, please, I’ve worked so long and hard for this. Let me do this,”‘ recalled Tonya.

“And when I landed it I was like, “Oh my God.”‘

Tears welled in the Olympian’s eyes and her voice broke as she admitted the moment still ‘feels like yesterday’.

Memories: Tonya at one point broke down in tears while discussing the moment she made history as the first American woman to land a triple axel jump in competition

Memories: Tonya at one point broke down in tears while discussing the moment she made history as the first American woman to land a triple axel jump in competition

Then: Tonya is pictured here in 1994

Now: She is shown here during Friday's interview with Matt Shirvington and Kylie Gillies

A lifetime ago: The 50-year-old looked almost unrecognisable compared to her sporting heyday (left, in 1994) during her interview with hosts Matt Shirvington and Kylie Gillies 

She apologised to the hosts for getting emotional, saying the historic moment is ‘so exciting every time I watch it’.

Shirvington then asked the Dancing with the Stars contestant: ‘What do you think when you watch [footage of the triple axel jump]?’ 

Still tearful, Tonya replied: ‘It reminds me of that time in my life where I could have gone one way, and ended up a different way.’

Sad: Harding's career was cut short at the age of 24 when she was banned for life from competing by the United States Figure Skating Association. Pictured with Connie Chung in 1994

Tragic: Harding’s career ended at the age of 24 when she was banned for life from competing by the United States Figure Skating Association. Pictured with journalist Connie Chung in 1994

Incident: The ban stemmed from Tonya's (centre left) admitted involvement after the fact in the assault on her skating rival Nancy Kerrigan (centre right)

Incident: The ban stemmed from Tonya’s (centre left) admitted involvement after the fact in the assault on her skating rival Nancy Kerrigan (centre right)

Assault: Kerrigan (pictured) was attacked at a 1994 training session in an assault orchestrated by Harding's ex-husband Jeff Gillooly

Assault: Kerrigan (pictured) was attacked at a 1994 training session in an assault orchestrated by Harding’s ex-husband Jeff Gillooly

Harding’s career was cut short at the age of 24 when she was banned for life from competing by the United States Figure Skating Association.

The ban stemmed from her admitted involvement after the fact in the assault on her skating rival Nancy Kerrigan.

Kerrigan was attacked at a 1994 training session in an assault orchestrated by Harding’s ex-husband Jeff Gillooly. 

Onscreen portrayal: The controversial athlete was famously portrayed on screen by Australian actress Margot Robbie in the 2018 biopic I, Tonya

Onscreen portrayal: The controversial athlete was famously portrayed on screen by Australian actress Margot Robbie in the 2018 biopic I, Tonya

Separated at birth: Margot was nominated for an Oscar for her performance in the film

Separated at birth: Margot was nominated for an Oscar for her performance in the film

After being banned from figure skating, Harding went on to forge a boxing career, before appearing in several reality TV shows like DWTS and Worst Cooks in America. 

The controversial athlete was famously portrayed on screen by Australian actress  Margot Robbie in the 2018 biopic I, Tonya.

Margot was nominated for an Academy Award for her performance in the film.   

Afterlife: After being banned from figure skating, Harding (seen in 1994) started a boxing career, before appearing in several reality TV shows like DWTS and Worst Cooks in America

Afterlife: After being banned from figure skating, Harding (seen in 1994) started a boxing career, before appearing in several reality TV shows like DWTS and Worst Cooks in America

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